LitRPG Podcast 182 -  Your Anus is a Gas Giant, Shade's First Rule, Sky Realms Online, Varnoth: The Black Blade, The Warped Forest


LitRPG Podcast 182 -  Your Anus is a Gas Giant, Shade's First Rule, Sky Realms Online, Varnoth: The Black Blade, The Warped Forest

Aug. 2nd, 2019

Hello everyone, welcome to episode 182 of the LitRPG podcast.

I’m Ramon Mejia. I’m here to bring you the latest LitRPG news, reviews, and author interviews.  I have 5 new reviews just for you, mostly new stuff from 1st time LitRPG authors.

New Releases and Reviews:

Your Anus is a Gas Giant (Caverns and Creatures) (12:59)

So funny, from Coopers POV. Potty humor.

Score: 7.6 out of 10 

Shade's First Rule (Divine Apostasy Book 1) (15:29)

The story has potential, but is too frustrating for me.

Score: 6 out of 10 

Sky Realms Online: Grayhold: A LitRPG Adventure (25:46)

Got bored with the slice of life adventuring.

Score: 5 out of 10 

Varnoth: The Black Blade: Book One: (A LitRPG Story) (33:47)

Author’s first novel. Slice of life story that gets dark, but has issues.

Score: 6 out of 10 

The Warped Forest: A Hundred Halls LitRPG and GameLit Novel (Gamemakers Online Book 1) (47:06)

Decent XP grind bookended by good character development.

Score: 7.1 out of 10 

(Play Music 2)

LitRPG News

Luke Chmilenko released some amazing commissioned art work for his Ascend Online series. This one of the Webwood. Very Creepy! 

Gabriel Rathweg, (author of I Am Gamer, Warrior Academy, Eyrth Online), has started his own YouTube Vlog called GLit where he reviews GameLit, LitRPG, and anything else he wants. For episode 1 he’s reviewing Limitless Lands, Power Mage, The Land, and The Bathrobe Knight. Gabriel is a very entertaining personality and I’ve always had a fun time talking to him. Go check his Vlog. 

Jeffrey Falcon Logue, author of the Slime Dungeon Chronicles, has put out a call for dungeon stories for a special anthology or dungeon story collection. All the rules are at the link below or on the Dungeon Corps Facebook page. But be aware that the application deadline is August 15th. 

Out Now!


Viridian Gate Online: Inquisitor's Foil (The Illusionist Book 3) 

Imprisoned Online: Gaming the System (A LitRPG Adventure Book 1) 

Contest (The Stork Tower Book 6) 

Still Ain't Dead (The Ex Wife Odyssey Book 1) 


The Grand Tournament: A LitRPG Adventure (Tower of Power Book 3) 

New LitRPG Audiobooks

Awaken Online: Unity 

Sky Realms Online: Grayhold: A LitRPG Adventure

Sky Realms Online, Book 1 

Big Trouble - Small Medium, Book 1 

Soulcatcher - Universe ICS Series, Book 1 

Upcoming LitRPG:

Hero GO! (Champion is Playing Book #3) LitRPG Series (Aug. 5th, 2019) 

Shadow Sun Expansion: Shadow Sun Book Two (Aug. 5th, 2019)

NPC Lives 1: Tales from the Dead Man Inn (Aug. 7th, 2019)

*Short story collection from the Alpha World Universe. 

The Fifth Realm (The Ten Realms Book 5) (Aug. 8th, 2019) 

Invasion, book 1: A Second Chance (Aug. 8th, 2019) 

Eden's Gate: The Ascent: A LitRPG Adventure (Aug. 10th, 2019) 

Ball of Light: Evolution (Aug. 12th, 2019) 

Dungeons of the Crooked Mountains (Underdog Book 1): LitRPG Series (Aug. 12th, 2019) 

Scamps & Scoundrels: A LitRPG/Gamelit Adventure (The Bad Guys Book 1) (Aug. 15th, 2019) 

Dragon Heart: Iron Will. LitRPG wuxia series: Book 2 (Aug. 22nd, 2019) 

A Check for a Billion (Galactogon Book #3): LitRPG Series (Aug. 30th, 2019) 

Zones of Alacria: The Dragon Gate: Epic GameLit / LitRPG (The Experimental Alchemist Book 1) (Aug. 31st, 2019) 

Darkness Named (dARkness: Online Book 1) (Aug. 31st, 2019) 

A Game of Villains (World of Karik Book #1) Dystopian LitRPG Series (Sept. 2nd, 2019) 

Cliffs of Eldimar: A GameLit/LitRPG Adventure (Kazaran Online: Cerulean Server Book 2) (Sept. 6th, 2019) 

Blood of Fate (World 99 Book #1): LitRPG Wuxia Series (Sept. 9th, 2019) 

Gloominess +2: Congregation. A LitRPG Adventure: Book 2 (Sept. 10th, 2019) 

Bibliomancer: A Completionist Chronicles Series (Wolfman Warlock Book 1) (Sept. 17th, 2019) 

*Co-Author from Dakota Krout and James Hunter*

Skulls of Atlantis: A LitRPG and GameLit Pirate Adventure (Sept. 19th, 2019) 

First Song 2 (Sept 2019)

Quest for Power: A LitRPG Saga (Hero Online Book 2) (Oct. 3rd, 2019) 

Dungeon of the Gods: A LitRPG Journey (Legends Online Book 2) (Oct. 6th, 2019) 

Deadman's Retinue (An NPC's Path Book #3): LitRPG Series

(Oct. 21st, 2019) 

Onto New Releases and Reviews

(Play Music 3)

New Releases and Reviews

(Picture 1)

Your Anus is a Gas Giant (Caverns and Creatures)

Pressure mounts as Cooper and the C&C gang try not to offend a dangerous woodsman.

Can Cooper stay clenched long enough for them to flee to safety?

I really think you'll enjoy this one. It's a gas!

My Opinion: 43 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

It’s always a highlight of my day when I get to read a fun new story with the C&C crew. This one has lots of the usual potty humor and cursing. Man Bevan, keep this stuff up. I genuinely love that this is mainly told from Coopers perspective. He doesn’t get enough love, likely cause of the low Charisma score, but still.

Score: 7.6 out of 10

Your Anus is a Gas Giant (Caverns and Creatures) 

Shade's First Rule (Divine Apostasy Book 1)

A new LitRPG world has arrived!

It's Ruwen’s Ascension Day, and he finally dies for the first time. His newly revived body can learn Spells and Abilities for the Class given him by the Goddess Uru, and dying is no longer permanent.

Ruwen’s high intelligence makes becoming a Mage inevitable. With his new powers, he will locate his parents and clear their family name. But nothing goes as Ruwen imagined, and when a rival God tries to kill Ruwen shortly after his disastrous Ascension, his focus turns from his future to just surviving.

His choices place him in the middle of an ancient war, and he must overcome the limitations of his unexpected Class to reach level five. Only then will he have the tools needed to survive. But dying now comes with a terrible penalty, and failing Uru might not only cost him his life and loved ones but his entire world.

It turns out dying on your Ascension Day is the easy part.

My Opinion: 431 pages, $4.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy for review. I purchased the novel when it became available. 

This is a seriously mixed bag of a story. There are sections that I thought were quite good, but there were a lot more frustrating moments that ultimately made the overall experience not good.

First the good. The RPG stuff is well thought out and even if it feels like it’s padded in some spots, matters and is constantly used throughout the story. The relationship between the main character (MC) Ruwen, Sift, and Blapy is well written. Their banter and developed relationships is a real highlight of the novel. The story was best when it was relaxed and just flowed with those aspects like the relationship building, or the casual dungeon dive, or the more mundane seeming moments like talking to your class trainer and seeing what options you have or just worrying about the class conflicts between RPG classes. Those chill moments felt the most genuine and had a lot of good potential. 

Now the not so good. The storyline is kind of a mess and feels frustratingly forced sometimes. The novel starts out with this YA,  vibe where the MC is finally getting his RPG class after coming of age. He has a goal to show everyone that his parents aren’t traitors and needs a good class. Then betrayal, and the MC ends up with a class that he thinks sucks but luckily something happens that may change his luck and he gets a potential advantage. The story is a bit slice of life as he learns about this unwanted class and there are some hints that it can be powerful. Good so far. I especially think the bits where his advantage and the special bag of holding he gets are going to be really important to the story and cool. Then the story just makes this sudden twist and it feels like it is forced into a ‘chosen one’ story where the MC is being hunted, then another twist where the story feels forced into a rogue test dungeon dive, then again later forced again into cultivation stuff, then ending in this huge cliffhanger. Ultimately by the end of the story I realized all the earlier plotlines are just not resolved in this novel. The stuff with the parents is never even mentioned past the beginning, the setup for RPG class conflict with the camping is also abandoned, even the hunted chosen one stuff is put on pause while the MC power levels in a DBZ style time compression dimension that lets him train for like a week while only ten hours pass outside. 

There are other issues, like how most of the initial power the MC gets feels unearned. He gets the really cool advantage (I’m being vague so as not to spoil things) for no reason. He gets some really good gear that feels like it belongs to a level 20 character, not a level 1. He’s magically good at things that he should have to practice according to the established story lore, like spells and cultivation. While eventually, the MC does feel like he earns some levels and power while dungeon diving, these other parts made the story frustrating.

Overall, the story has potential, but is too frustrating. I can only guess that the author is setting up some series storylines, but because there’s no resolution to the many plotlines started it ends up feeling like either the author kept changing his mind about what he wanted to write, or that he was trying to check some boxes about writing ‘good’ LitRPG. Either way, the frustration over shadowed the good parts for me. 

Score: 6 out of 10

Shade's First Rule (Divine Apostasy Book 1) 

Sky Realms Online: Grayhold: A LitRPG Adventure

Sky Realms Online is the largest and most popular Virtual Reality MMORPG ever made. Set amongst the mystical, floating islands of Hankarth, it's played and enjoyed by millions every hour. Until something goes wrong.

Unable to log out, players find themselves reduced to level one, and in the starting zones. They receive a cryptic message from the developers stating that for unknown reasons, they are trapped in the game and may have to live out their lives within the virtual world.

Hall is one of the those trapped in the game. He’s been playing Sky Realms Online as a spear-wielding Skirmisher ever since the beta. And instead of panicking as many do, he decides to make the most of it; to play the game and live his new life, all while quietly hoping the developers will find a fix.

It doesn’t take Hall long to find out that, while some aspects of the game are the same, the difficulty level is beyond anything he's ever experienced.

Together, with a new party of trapped players and NPCs with canned answers, Hall will find out just how different Sky Realms Online has become, and how playing a game is different from living the game...

My Opinion: 415 pages, $2.99, Available on Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased a copy when it became available. 

The novel has a pretty cover, but I was mostly bored with the story. While the story isn't poorly written, it never gave me a reason to care about the main character (MC) or his slice of life adventure. After the annoying setup (I’ll explain that later) you really just follow the MC as he and his group explore the world, go on quests, and fight monsters. There’s no real plot you’re just following the MC and his group do stuff. I'm not opposed to slice of life. However, if that's what you're going to do, you need to give me some other reason to stick around besides plot. Either I love the main character, or the action is great, or the game mechanics are so neat I want to see how they develop. But none of that was here so I just got bored.

There's a minor amount of character development for the MC, but none really for the other group members. The action is ok.  The RPG stuff is fairly standard with levels, and quests. It’s nothing really amazing but not bad either. There are lots of quests but there's really no purpose to them besides giving the characters something to do. There’s no real novel antagonist, though one is hinted at for book 2. I will say, the ending is good. That last quest was the best part of the story, adding in the potential for a plot for the series and showing a glimpse of town building mechanics. But I was still bored with the other 90% of the story.

There are a few things I found annoying with the story. The premise doesn't make sense. It's a weird alternative version of the ‘trapped in the game’ setup. The players get their minds uploaded during an attack on the game servers. They're taken offline for two years but when no one can figure out how to put them back in their bodies, the game company decides to restart the game and let the trapped players play. Only they add more realism, pain, and possibly permanent death. It just didn’t make sense to me and honestly wasn’t needed considering how the rest of the story unfolded. Another thing that bothered me were the constant comparisons the MC made between the old game and this new version. They're used to tell the reader about the game mechanics but it's not done well. The reader has never seen the old game so what's the point in comparing the changes? Just show us what the rules are for this world. Just a couple small things that made it harder to enjoy the story.

Overall, not a bad writing. I just never had a reason to care about the slice of life story.

Score: 5 out of 10

Sky Realms Online: Grayhold: A LitRPG Adventure 

Varnoth: The Black Blade: Book One: (A LitRPG Story)

What would you do if you awoke without memory, crucified, and on the brink of death? 

Varnoth, a shadow panther, must struggle to survive in the cruel world of Albattara. He must use his natural-born skills in this fantasy LitRPG to explore the land, complete quests, conquer dungeons, craft potions, destroy terrifying monsters, and find answers to his questions: 

Who is he? 

Why was he crucified?

My Opinion: 344 pages, $2.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited

Full disclosure: I received an advanced copy of the novel for review. I purchased a copy when it became available.

This is the author’s first novel and he’s undoubtedly nervous about how his story is received. I try to be super supportive of an author when first publishing and even went and bought 2 copies of the story. However, the review has to be 100% honest. There were some issues that just kept me from enjoying it fully. They’re are some things I thought were well done and liked. But the recurring issues just stopped me from fully enjoying the novel. If the issues I’ll mention don’t bother you or you can overlook them, you might enjoy this more than me. I encourage you to give the story a chance.

Liked: 1) The main character (MC) isn’t human. It was nice to see a non-human MC and get a little bit of a different experience. 2) The RPG progression is a part of the story consistently. 3) There’s a nice variety of monsters and enemies. 4) A very action focused story. 5) After the 30% mark, the story takes an interesting dark turn that some readers will enjoy.


1) Combat almost always goes the MCs way, with little effort, and usually with him not getting hurt. This is the biggest issue for me, not because of the easy fights themselves, but that there is no RPG system in place to justify it. The MC often one-shots enemies, even ones higher level than him, in armor, and in groups. The MC is saved by his fur or quickness, but the enemy never has the same rules. He seems to be skilled in all manner of weapons he’s never used, even though he doesn’t have the needed RPG skills in his character sheet. 

2) The RPG system isn’t explained and there’s no logical reasoning to fill in the gaps. 

-The MC gains increasing amounts of attribute points each level. 10 at level 2, 12 at level 3, 13 at level 4, 18 at 10. I’m not saying there’s no reason for this, just that it’s not explained.

-It’s established there are weapon skills, only the MC doesn’t seem to need them to be amazing with any weapon he picks up.

-The XP system feels like it’s just there to power level the MC sometimes. Ie: Inconsistent XP for the same level monster/enemies, quests that give bloated XP rewards for doing nothing (1000 XP for ‘guarding’ a caravan only the MC just sits there the whole trip). Yes, I get that the MC needs to get some big levels to face the big bad guy, but the MC should still feel like he earns those levels. 

3) The bad guys feel flat. They are certainly bad and evil. But that’s all there is to them.

Other than those issues, the story is pretty decent. It has a nice hook where the MC wakes up crucified without his memories, but that’s not really developed as much as it’s casually remembered at some point late in the story. Most of the novel is about the MC wandering from place to place taking on quests, killing monsters, helping people, advancing his class and all that is pretty decent. There is a little bit of a revenge plot line, but even that’s more of a reason to go on other adventures to level. It’s very slice of life, even if it gets a little dark mid-late story, which was a pleasant surprise.

If the issues that bothered me don’t bother you, this may be a good story for you. 

Score: 6 out of 10

Varnoth: The Black Blade: Book One: (A LitRPG Story) 

The Warped Forest: A Hundred Halls LitRPG and GameLit Novel (Gamemakers Online Book 1)

Could you defeat the world's hardest immersive game?

Alexandria Duke must learn how to or risk losing everything.

When Alex joins Gamemakers Online, she finds there are no newbie areas, no tutorials, and nothing but vicious critters hunting her down. This seems like an impossible task but Alex is a veteran platinum achievement hunter who has solved previously unwinnable scenarios. She won't give up now.As she delves deeper into the game, she discovers it hides sinister secrets. If she can't survive the first year in Gamemakers Online then she'll lose more than her own life.

My Opinion: 317 pages, $3.99, Available On Kindle Unlimited

A decent slice of life XP grind end capped by some good character development. The main character (MC) goes from her trailer home to a magical academy where she has a chance to get a top notch magical education in a game related house where she has to level up playing a special game or get kicked out.

The main character (MC) is developed very well in the first 10% and the last 15% of the story. I was almost instantly rooting for her and while I foresaw how the real world story would turn out it didn’t make it any less well written. The actual real world is a little odd in that it’s a modern magical world, that still somehow has VR in it. I think the author is just trying to tie it in with his existing magical academy series. Still, the MC is in the game world by the 12% mark and the story focuses early on survival and learning the rules of this RPG fantasy world and then is a big XP grind.

Game mechanic wise, nothing special here. Standard levels, stats. Once the MC gets her class, there’s a nice expansion of spells and how she uses them intelligently to XP grind. Though there is a connection between the real world magic and the game world, it’s not particularly detailed until near the end of the story. You see quests, damage notifications, item descriptions, and even some regular crafting. However, there are several time jumps and level jumps that bothered me, with the MC going from level 5 to 11 in a single sentence and later level 0 to 16 in a paragraph. It made some of her power gains feel unearned. Didn’t ruin the story, it’s setup well enough, but did lesson my enjoyment on the RPG side. 

Overall, a well told story that does a good job of developing the MC’s character. The world building is well done and there are enough ‘ready player one’ type of pop culture references that it will feel funny, if a little forced. While the XP grind is a bit wand wavy at times the good character development makes up for it. 

Score: 7.1 out of 10

The Warped Forest: A Hundred Halls LitRPG and GameLit Novel (Gamemakers Online Book 1) 

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(Music 4)

Music Credits

"Blip Stream" "Mighty Like Us" "Big Shift" "Vivacity"

Kevin MacLeod (

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